It’s not within my competence to write about sexuality but I was provoked and as a doctor I’ll approach the theme in a more investigative way.
Human sexuality is often compared to multistory house: sex instinct which is innate is at the bottom – no way to get rid of it; above is the first floor – likeness: “I like these eyes, these hair, these legs, these breasts”. Hence comes the attraction.
Eroticism stands above the attraction, and above it is fondness. Somewhere up in the attic real love is standing. It depends how far the elevator will go.
We usually think that men want just sex, while for women it is rather an inner emotional and complex experience and thus we completely fail to understand how strongly the male sexuality is driven by internal factors. Uncertainty, anxiety, lack of self-confidence – all these are factors that directly relate to the connection and define male sexuality.
Actually, it turns out that there is no difference – male sexuality is the same as female – internally driven and reflecting the personal attitude towards ourselves.
I’ll go even further, claiming that male sexuality is much more dependent on the partner, which is the reason why many men prefer not to be involved in a relationship. It’s not because they don’t want to have a partner and don’t want to think about how the other is feeling, but because all this is too painful for them and it is much easier to be alone.
The famous anthropologist Helen Fisher, who has devoted herself to the study of attraction and love laws, claims that usually three minutes at the first meeting are enough for a person to understand if it is worth admitting a stranger in his life.
We have to look into the past and to meet more closely the lifestyle of our distant ancestors in order to understand her theories.
The life expectancy of ancient people was significantly less than that of our contemporaries. One of the important goals of their existence had been to find a suitable partner as fast as possible and to conceive a healthy offspring that will carry and develop their genetic material.
Time had played a substantial role – people had to learn to find their partner quickly and to be able to instantly recognize a friend or enemy in them.
Fisher believes evolution has tuned our brains to make immediate decision – do we want to have children from the first met of the opposing sex or not.
What can be understand for these three minutes? Many researchers talk about “love scheme”, list of desired traits that we want to see in the potential partner. Let’s say, if a girl tells a friend she wants a tall man with good sense of humor, thus she describes her love scheme.
It’s not our thoughts and ideas that influence our decision, rather it is made considering the experience of all our ancestors.
Men and women consciously or not want to leave a healthy offspring which will carry their genes. Hence the desire to find a partner with the best genetic material.
People usually show their physical health and the ability to reproduce by certain physical parameters, such as their waist or symmetrical face traits.
While admiring his manful chin or her big eyes, actually we evaluate traits formed due to testosterone and estrogen, showing excellent reproductive abilities.
Talking about person’s external attractiveness we actually appreciate its fertility. So, one may subconsciously understand at first glance if his desire can provide beautiful and healthy offspring.
Lust or love?
Helen Fisher explains that different regions in the brain are responsible for love and lust though they often are triggered simultaneously. It was found in one study, conducted at the University of Syracuse that the hormones responsible for love experience are able to reach the brain for 1/5 of a second.
This means that our brain is capable of falling in love practically instantly, at first sight. But what happens next in our head, between the first parts of a second and the three minutes at the first date?
The love list in the brain
The word “love”, of course, is accepted to mean something more than simple physical attraction. From scientific point of view, after the initial physical assessment of a potential partner, other processes start in the brain, comparison with people from our past on the first place.
Let’s say, if the stranger wears a cap and our previous experience with a partner, so much loving caps, turned out unsuccessful, there lights a danger alarm in the brain. When the man begins to talk, the woman starts to evaluate the manner of the conversation – the lower the voice and the faster the speech, the more attractive and educated the male face looks like.
A processing of the socio-economic status automatically begins as well. For example, a business suit and leather bag signalize that the man is used to work a lot and earns well. On the other hand, “businessman” cannot devote much time to the woman but can give her a decent lifestyle.
A very important factor is the proximity of life views. If you hear an opinion that completely matches yours at the first meeting, the attractiveness increases many times. Although the belief the opposites attract, scientists are sure that people choose a partner according to the mental and physical closeness with themselves.
Successful and long lasting relationships are usually formed between people with similar religious beliefs, accustomed to a certain lifestyle and possessing identical tastes and vision on many issues.
Couples often resemble each other. According to researches most of the people choose partners with similar fat level in the organism. Thus it is rather uncommon an athlete to be attracted by an obese and vice versa.
On the other hand, people subconsciously seek partners who aren’t genetically close to them – the goal remains the same, like ten thousand years ago: to obtain a healthy offspring. Therefore, except for the environmental and social factors for emerging of romantic feelings, people’s smell also matters.
The aroma of love
A lonely woman notices a man at the party whose appearance satisfies all her desires and expectations. They locked eyes, he bears down on her, the famous three minutes commence. If he smells strongly of sweat, the relationship ends before even started. But even the imperceptible smell may influence the decision – will there be love or not, and what – big or transient?
Here comes the genetic factor – if the smell of the liked person is quite similar to ours’, it is more likely no physical attraction to occur. In fact, the similar aroma causes rather kindred feelings that destroy to the root the sexual attraction – as the offspring from crossing close relatives usually is weak and doomed to degeneration.
Female volunteers had to smell T-shirts worn by different men and to evaluate the smell of their sweat in a popular study. Each woman compiles her own list of the attractive smells and the more different was her gene than the DNA of the man, the more pleasant the smell of the T-shirt seemed to her.
Analyzing the behavior of fruit flies, scientists found that the female needed just one meeting to understand if the male fits her genetically or not. Although people significantly differ from insects, experts belief that the mechanism of searching a partner is similar.
I love you because you love me too
There’s one more factor, besides smell, appearance, voice and social status that makes it possible to take a final decision. And this factor is reciprocity.
If the potential partner cannot take eyes off you, love begins at this moment. The evolutionary mechanism that prevents us from losing much time for people who don’t like us again is responsible.
The returned glance, smile, voice softening – these are the signals that turns the stranger with the pleasant scent and appearance into a future partner.
The heart says: “Go ahead!” and the rational mind no longer dares to raise voice. Or at least – for the moment.